The sound of the engine of the bulldozer made everyone in the village shout with excitement. At last, the major road of their village would be tarred.
Lima didn’t share same feeling. This was the day she dreaded. Her house was on that major road, but she wished it wasn’t there.The news of the road rehabilitation had started circling for two years now and most house owners on the road had carried out major renovations on their buildings. They knew development came with expectations. But for Lima, her father was dead and her mother had no one but her.
Lima was the ONLY child. She had finished secondary school a year ago and was still looking forward to gaining admission to nursing school. Her mother only had farm produce to sell on their weekly market days and the income barely fed two mouths. They were poor but content. Lima was not necessarily pressured by her peers but this was going to be a major embarrassment she couldn’t shrug off. No one came to their rescue. Building a new house was no small feat anyway. Theirs was just too tattered to be on the major road. This was unbearable.
In 3 months the road rehabilitation was completed and the local government chairperson came with a large entourage to commission it. Some houses had even been repainted for the occasion. Lima’s mud hut was still there for all to scoff at and some lousy neighbours couldn’t help but talk about it. Her mother became depressed and spent more hours than usual at the farm. She would leave home before dawn at return at dusk. The road connected neighbouring villages so it became busy. Buses sped away night and day. Their village became a commercial town.
Lima felt left out.
Some good news came though. Lima finally got admitted into nursing school and she felt relieved. She could run away from her wretched unbecoming mud house. But she remembered her lonely mother and the shame she would put up with. Lima sighed and made a wish.
A week before her departure, some group of foreign film makers came to their village to secure a location for a documentary. Of course, they needed a primitive setting. And in all the village road, Lima’s mud tattered hut stood out distinctively among the rest. The foreigners felt very much at home with nature in that hut. They loved the smell of the baked mud, the dry brown leaves that fell from the cashew tree every morning that made stepping on them sound like crunchy crisps. They loved it. Lima and her mother welcomed them all.
No sooner had these foreigners settled that Lima’s hut became Mecca of sorts. The whole village trooped to their compound to catch a glimpse of these crew. Mother could hardly go to farm anymore. The foreigners loved the girl they saw in Lima. Even the village heads were proud. Lima’s life and her mother’s changed after then. Their mud hut was sizzling hot.
Lima’s hut stood for tradition.
Lima’s hut stood for heritage.
Lima’s hut stood for nature.
Lima’s hut stood for remembrance.
Lima’s hut was the pride of the village.
Written by Bamidele Kulajolu .
My name is Bamidele Kulajolu. I’m a better listener than talker. Writing lifts my mood and I’m proud of what life affords me.